• THE INFLATION’ RATE IN AMERICA IS TOP NEWS THESE DAYS, as a presumably key gauge for monitoring the health of our economy. But it’s an ‘average’ metric which is far from a useful measure in many respects – just as an average temperature of 98.6 doesn’t mean much if a person’s head in in an oven while their feet are in a freezer. Since the (theoretical) end of this last decade-long recession, average annual price changes range from nearly 18% reduction in cost of TV sets to 9.5% increase in cost of commercial bank services. Reality is that prices never rise or fall in unison. “What the Fed calls Inflation is just a weighted average of the ups and downs of prices for designated goods & services in a basket that purportedly reflects the spending of all American consumers – which change for a variety of reasons, including technology, consumer preferences, the cost of imports, sales channel,” along with a huge divergence between goods and services (which differ, on average, by nearly 2% alone), and “unobservable factors such as the concept of the natural rate of unemployment.” [BUSINESSWEEK – Mar 26, 18]

• MOST SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS FAIL TO RECOGNIZE THE THREAT TO THEIR WEBSITE – which represents ‘low hanging fruit’ to hackers, since although “each site has a relatively small reach in the volume of visitors that can be exploited, the sheer number of sites combined with ease of compromise makes it worthwhile… Many website owners rely too heavily on popular search engines and other third parties to notify them once they’ve already been compromised… Meanwhile attackers are becoming sneakier, and more difficult-to-decode malware is coming through.” There are something like 18½ million internet websites infected with malware each week, and the average website is attacked 44 times every day. Failing to plan ahead with cybersecurity measures is an open invitation to possible catastrophe. DCG can help. [SECURITY WEEK – Mar 21, 18]

• 99% OF THE $14 BILLION GLOBAL ROUGH-DIAMOND MARKET IS CONTROLLED by De Beers, delivering diamonds mined from the result of carbon after millennia of underground pressure. But a fast-growing sector now comes from a Silicon Valley startup which uses “plasma reactors to turn diamond ‘seeds,’ or tiny shards of diamonds, into high-quality gemstones. The reactors mimic natural diamonds, with less human labor and a carbon neutral footprint…which jewelry brands as well-known as Swarovski can retail for up to 25% less – appealing to millennials who are not into markups and are super-concerned about traceability.” Diamond Foundry now produces over 100,000 carats a year and is threatening the establishment. [FORTUNE – Apr 1, 18]

• WITH CONGRESS JUST AUTHORIZING ANOTHER 1.3 TRILLION OF DEFICIT SPENDING, are you curious how they wisely spent prior tax moneys over the last several years? $810K for a Nat’l Institutes of Health study to “analyze how monkey drool has evolved.” $565K for Nat’l Science foundation to “find out how long fish can flap on a treadmill,” along with $460K to “discover if dinosaurs could sing like birds,” $188K to “uncover why Americans won’t use the metric system,” and $50K to “demonstrate that sea monkeys make large waves while swimming.” Together, those agencies funded another $300K to study “whether girls play with Barbie dolls more than boys,” while the Nat’l Park service confirmed for only $65K that “bugs fly toward light when they see it.” The absolute winner: Dep’t of Defense paid for $100 million worth of flight tickets over a seven year period which they never used, but “didn’t get their money back even though the tickets were fully refundable.” [SPIDELL PUBLISHING – Mar 25, 18]

• A TRADITIONAL HOME IS BECOMING UNATTAINABLE FOR MILLENIALS, BUT ALSO UNNECESSARY for the one-in-five white-collar workers who never go into an office. A Gallup poll suggests that nearly half of all employed Americans work remotely at least some of the time, and estimates are that “hundreds of thousands of self-identifying digital nomads plus a few million people living a location-independent lifestyle” currently opt for co-living in modern communes – since they have no necessity to work close to any workplace, “want to start afresh or re-calibrate their work-life balance… and prefer a form of connection between others who are neither friends nor family nor colleagues… The Commune, once the freakish sibling of modern society, may finally have found its place. [ECONOMIST 1843 – Apr/May 18]


      “Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups… Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand… The word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT.”

      While correlation does not equal causation, statistics on gun laws versus gun crimes reveal that states with more gun restrictions do consistently see fewer gun deaths. California has the highest number of provisions and a relatively lower rate of deaths (2.8 per 100,000 population); Illinois and Maryland (Chicago & Baltimore) have only six laws for every ten in CA, with death rates 2½ times; Louisiana/Alabama/Mississippi have only one firearm provision for every ten in CA and a death rate nearly 3½ times as high.